CORSAIR made a splashing entry into the world of custom PC watercooling with their Hydro X series, and we began our own coverage with the XC9 CPU water block last month. I mentioned then that the company had held off until a full product portfolio was complete, so customers could have an entire CORSAIR Hydro X system in place if they so desired, which means that there will be more articles on their products as well. Today, we take a look at a GPU water block, the XG7 RGB for NVIDIA 10-series cards to be more specific, and thanks again to CORSAIR for sending along a review sample.
Sure, I would have rather tested a Hydro X XG7 RTX 20-series or even Radeon Navi series block, but upgrading a GPU block test setup is easier said than done, especially when I already have a plethora tested on an overvolted, hot-as-heck GTX 1080 for comparison. It was serendipitous then that CORSAIR decided there was enough demand for yesteryear's NVIDIA "Pascal" microarchitecture and thus here we are. Unlike their CPU blocks that come in two different tiers that also support different CPU sockets, the Hydro X GPU blocks are all built to the same degree and differ only in the GPU compatibility based on the PCB design. We begin the review, as always, with a look at the specifications in the table below.
|CORSAIR Hydro X Series XG7 RGB 10-SERIES GPU Water Block|
|Top:||Aluminium trim and polished acrylic|
|Cold Plate:||Nickel-plated copper|
|GPU Compatibility:||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Ti) / 1080 (Ti) with reference layout|
|Ports:||Four, BSP G1/4" threaded|
Packaging and Accessories
I received one of fifty special kits sent in two boxes, one of which contained a Pelican case which had custom-fit foam around the core components of CORSAIR's Hydro X series—the CPU block(s), GPU block(s), and reservoir/pump unit. I figured TechPowerUp readers might be interested in seeing this, but note that retail units will be sold individually as seen below.
CORSAIR has adopted a black and yellow color scheme for most of their new products, DIY or otherwise, and the Hydro X Series XG7 RGB (simply XG7 henceforth) GPU water block is no exception. The packaging gets a plastic cover, and a matte cardboard wrap helps with aesthetics and information alike, especially given the retail channels these will be stocked in. On the front is the company and product name, a printed render of the block with the LEDs in action, and the GPU compatibility to ensure no buyer's regret on that front. More renders, marketing features and specifications greet us on the back and sides, and in multiple languages as well.
The outer wrap is just that as flaps on the side reveal a two-part packaging with an inner cardboard box that is more bare in design. The CORSAIR logo is on the front and certification on the back, which also tells us more about the source of said packaging, and more single flaps on the side help keep the contents inside in place during transit. Opening the box, we see the GPU block packaged snugly in between a shaped piece of thick foam, and the accessories are all underneath to ensure the block is not hit by anything either.
CORSAIR includes a handy quick-start guide (online copy here), again in multiple languages. Do go through the guide if this is your first time with a custom watercooling loop since CORSAIR has done a good job of keeping it user friendly. There are also two acetal BSP G1/4" threaded stop plugs, installation hardware involving 20 metal mounting screws, a metal locking nut, and a plastic plug tool to help install the stop plugs. The low-profile nature of the stop plugs included means there is not a lot of grip available, but you may still want to try finger-tightening them first before resorting to the plug tool as seen above.
In an increasingly rare move these days, CORSAIR is also including a nice aluminium backplate in the package. Many aftermarket cooling companies either sell them separately at an additional cost or rely on first-party backplates if directly compatible. There are definitely instances where people can use the stock backplate with different screws and a third-party water block, but having a supported backplate included is another case of CORSAIR wanting to have the Hydro X series be user-friendly first and foremost. The backplate is full length in that it covers the entire PCB on the back, with cutouts for SLI fingers (as it still was the case with the GTX 10-series) and a pattern on the back to complement the branding.
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